India Foreign Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup. Fred Dufour—AFP
Beijing reportedly maintains Delhi cannot join the Nuclear Suppliers Group until it has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
India has blamed regional rival China for blocking its entry to a nuclear trade group opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, after its members met in South Korea with no decision on India’s bid to join.
India wants to become a member of the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which works to prevent the sharing of technology that could spread nuclear weapons. New Delhi believes joining the NSG, which concluded a two-day meeting in Seoul on Friday, would give it better access to low-cost, clean nuclear energy, important for economic growth.
But despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reported attempts to convince Chinese President Xi Jinping to support India’s membership, Beijing stood firm in its opposition. “The NSG plenary in Seoul earlier in the day decided against granting India membership of the grouping immediately,” spokesman Vikas Swarup told Press Trust of India news agency.
A three-hour discussion on India’s membership saw “procedural hurdles persistently raised by one country,” he said.
One obstacle reportedly raised by China was that India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—a treaty on nuclear disarmament that India says is biased. “India singles out China for crushing NSG dream,” a front page headline in the Hindustan Times newspaper said.
Others said that China had been not alone in its opposition. The Indian Express newspaper said: “No entry in NSG: India blames one country (China), others said no too.”
Modi had ramped up his bid to get India into the NSG in the last few weeks, undertaking a multi-nation trip to court key countries including the U.S., Switzerland and Mexico. He met with China’s Xi on the sidelines of a summit in Uzbekistan on Thursday, apparently to push for Beijing’s support.
“India believes that an early decision on its application remains in larger global interest,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
India’s formal application to the group in May this year has received backing from key NSG members including U.S., France and Japan.